This building was nick-named after the nineteenth-century opera star, Jenny Lind, also known as "The Swedish Nightingale". History has it that she stayed in Yellow Springs during the Philadelphia portion of her P. T. Barnum-sponsored concert tour in 1850. The tour began when she sailed into New York Harbor and was greeted by a crowd of more than 30,000 New Yorkers. The astounding thing about her reception is that no one in America had ever heard her voice. Thanks to the showmanship of P. T. Barnum, her tour was a remarkable success. The first ticket to a Jenny Lind concert in America was sold for $225, an expensive concert ticket by today's standards and a simply staggering amount in 1850. Most of the tickets to Jenny Lind's first concert sold for about six dollars, but the publicity surrounding someone paying more than $200 for a ticket served its purpose. People across America read about it, and it seemed the whole country was curious to hear Jenny Lind sing. She continued performing in America until she returned to Europe in 1852.
About the village of Yellow Springs
During the colonial period, the mineral springs in the village attracted hundreds of bathers a day and it remained a spa until 1865, except for four years (1777-1781) during the Revolutionary War. The first Inn (our previous location) dated from the 1760's and served as General George Washington's headquarters during the Battle of Brandywine. For four years Yellow Springs was the site of the only hospital officially authorized by the Continental Congress. That building later served from 1869 to 1912 as a Soldiers Orphans School for the children of Civil War veterans.
When the number of Civil War orphans declined to the vanishing point, the School was put up for sale and was eventually purchased by The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Thousands of students from the United States and abroad attended the school, which by the 1930's also offered teacher certification in the fine arts for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction. Although regular classes were only conducted in the summer, instructors from the PAFA visited throughout the year to offer students criticism of their work. A newspaper wrote in 1925 that "the rare charm of the old Revolutionary place and its delectable countryside have made possible the only summer school of art in the United States of this sort, a school where students live together for four months and not only learn from their instructors but from the give-and-take of constant daily foregathering."
Art students sketched and studied in the Portico which connected the Lincoln building (currently the Library) and the Inn. They also worked in the Chester Springs Studio, which was originally built as a stable. The East Meadows was the site of the spa's bath houses, a gazebo, and a pool house dating to the 1830's; the West Meadows contain the restored "Oriental Bog Gardens" originally built in the 1920's for the art students to sketch. Four other houses, including this one, became residences for students.
Across the old tennis court behind the Studio is a path that leads to the "Oriental Bog Gardens" originally installed in the 1920's to provide inspiration and subject matter for students at the Country School. There are also two historic springhouses, one of which was also named after Jenny Lind. Legend has it that she was lowered into the pool on a swing during a private bathing session.
The Crystal Diamond Springhouse, c. 1840, houses a magnesium spring whose waters are crystal clear and sparkle like diamonds. It has a unique diamond shaped pool as well as a diamond shaped opening in the roof. The interior of both springhouses can be viewed through openwork iron doors. A wood chip path leads you through the lush gardens.
"Of the various watering places and rural retreats which invite the languid, the listless, or the
laborious citizen to invigorate his system, to relax from the fatigues of business, or to restore his
declining health, none certainly combines so many advantages as this delightful spot. Its proximity to
the city, the salubrity of the air, the purity of the water, the coldness and clearness of the bath,
the fertility of the soil, and the variegated scenery which surrounds it, all conspire to charm the senses,
and to sooth, and exhilarate the mind."
(From a series on American Scenery in The Port Folio, 1810).
We hope you enjoy your visit to our restaurant and the charming village that surrounds it.
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